CHALLENGING THE discharge of IPS officer Narendra K Amin in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Thursday submitted its application before the Bombay High Court. A trial court in August this year had discharged Amin for lack of evidence.
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Days after his discharge, the Gujarat government in September had extended the tenure of Amin, Superintendent of Police (SP) of Mahisagar district, by one year after his superannuation. Amin is currently on bail in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.
In its petition in the HC, the CBI has contended that there was enough evidence against Amin to ascertain that he played an “active” role in the alleged fake encounter.
“Amin was present in Ilol — the native place of prime accused DG Vanzara — where Sohrabuddin’s wife Kausar Bi was killed and her body set on fire. Amin was present there for over six hours. He was involved in the transportation and disposal of the body. To prove this, we had attached the statement of a policeman who was part of the team that aided and abetted the disposal of Kausar Bi’s body. The trial court didn’t appreciate the evidence, saying that the witness lacks corroboration. We have contested this by citing Supreme Court judgements that state evidence given by a single eyewitness doesn’t require corroboration,” an official who did not wish to be named said.
The statement of the policeman is the strongest evidence that the central agency has against Amin.
The agency also contested that since the conspiracy was hatched in complete secrecy without an “overt act” of participation, the testimony of the lone eyewitness should be considered by the court. “It is not necessary that an accused does an overt act to participate in a conspiracy that is hatched in complete secrecy. In the said case too, while Amin participated in the conspiracy, there is not much conspicuous evidence of his participation,” the official added.
Sources said that the agency is also likely to contest the applications for discharge filed by the other three accused in the case, including former IPS officer DG Vanzara and the then senior Rajasthan police officer M N Dinesh. “Since the trial court has discharged 12 accused, the three officers have sought discharge under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure ( CrPC) citing parity as their ground. However, we have ample evidence against them and we will also contest their discharge,” the official added.
A discharge by the court means that the accused will not stand trial. However, it can be challenged in higher courts.
Alleged gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh was gunned down in November 2005. The Gujarat Police had claimed that he had links with Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba.
In 2010, the Supreme Court had asked the CBI to investigate the case. The probe by the agency had revealed that Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausar Bi were allegedly abducted by Gujarat ATS from Hyderabad on their way to Sangli in Maharashtra and killed. Tulsiram Prajapati, an eyewitness in the case, was allegedly killed by the Gujarat police in December 2006.